• Editorial: Should the Show Have Irredeemable Villains?


    In most stories, you'll often find one character archetype no matter where you go. This character provides a constant threat to the protagonists, drives the plot forward by creating a problem for the heroes to solve in every episode, and tends to stick around until the end of the season/series. They're the villain, the completely evil and irredeemable enemy that the heroes defeat on a weekly basis.

    In the first two episodes, Friendship is Magic took this archetype, put it in a box with a piece of hair from a superhero, strapped the box to a rocket, and shot it into the sun.

    People have argued over whether or not this policy of shooting things into the nearest star is a good idea ever since.

    I'm algernon97, and I haven't slept in three days. Join me below the break for a look into both sides of that argument. And some Starlight Glimmer pictures. There's a few of those in this thing, too.


    Naturally, there are a few reasons why someone might think that shooting an archetype into the sun isn't a good idea. The most obvious one is that the archetype might come back as a D-list supervillain, but I'm more interested in the practical ones.

    To start with, there's the writing issue. While reforming a bad guy and making them a friend of the main character sounds like a great idea, integrating that newly-reformed character into the show can be a bit tricky. Sometimes, it doesn't go too well. An example of this can be seen with how Starlight Glimmer was handled in season six.

    Starlight Glimmer, demonstrating the Starlight Maneuver.

    Although she played a big part in both the premiere and the finale, Starlight didn't really have a lot of screen time with the rest of the cast. She either hung out with Twilight and Spike, or she made friends with new/returning characters. Outside of a few small scenes, she does nothing with the other five main characters of the show. 

    Actually, that's not true. She does share screentime with them in two episodes:

    A Hearth's Warming Tale, where she plays the villain of an in-universe story that Twilight's reading to her.

    and

    Every Little Thing She Does, where she uses a mind control spell on them for most of the episode.

    "Have you seen Stranger Things?"

    It seems like the writers just didn't know how to get Starlight and the rest of the cast to talk to each other for any extended period of time. So instead, they focused on her interactions with other characters. I think a lot of people were complaining about Starlight during season six, and this might be the reason why. It was a weird bit of build-up to her role in the finale, and established pretty quickly how she didn't work too well with the mane five.

    On the other side of the coin, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It let the writers focus on more than just the mane six, and opened up a lot of new story opportunities.

    Also, Starlight and Trixie are just fantastic whenever they're paired up.

    Seriously.

    They're the best.

    10/10 best duo since Abbott and Costello.

    Of course, writing troubles aren't the only reason why somebody might want a bad guy to stay evil in the show. Some people might want to see the show reflect real life, where there are plenty of people that will never be friends with each other no matter what. 

    That'd be an interesting idea for a show all about friendship to explore. Tirek did something along those lines, and it looks like they might be going in this direction with Chrysalis. 

    Unfortunately for Starlight, the classic "down low, too slow" joke just so happened to be the most dreadful insult imaginable in changeling culture.

    That being said, there's a pretty big reason as to why the show doesn't like irredeemable baddies. This big ol' reason is entirely responsible for the policy of shooting the evil villain archetype into the sun, and it's this:

    Such a character would go against the message of the series. For a show titled Friendship is Magic, it just wouldn't make a lot of sense to have an irredeemable villain constantly messing with the heroes.

    In a recent video that Hasbro uploaded to their channel, Meghan McCarthy said that her worldview is "no one's bad, they're just broken. And if you can figure out how to fix them, then things'll be okay." She didn't elaborate, but I think that statement fits the show perfectly. The whole message of the show is that the power of friendship can overcome any challenge, and anyone can find redemption through it.

    That's why the show reforms so many of its villains. It's an optimistic little program that believes everyone's got some good in them, no matter how far down you have to dig in order to find it.

    I don't really have a caption for this. It's just a cute picture.

    That's how I see it, anyway.

    So what do you think? Do you think the show should have some unashamedly evil bad guys, or should it just keep on reforming all the villains? Feel free to answer down in the comments.


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